Colt Automatic Pistol and Revolver Information - 25 years of Service to Colt Firearms Collectors


Colt Model 1900 .38 ACP - Serial Number 1690, Second Army Contract

Private Collection

Colt Model 1900 Sight Safety Serial Number 1690, Second Army Contract - The Colt Model 1900 is the first Browning designed automatic pistol model licensed to and manufactured by Colt Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company. This pistol was manufactured in 1901, the second year of production and is the second variation of the Model 1900 with forward plunge milled serrations, high polish blue, fire blued small parts and course checkered walnut grips.

The Second Army Contract pistol variation was shipped with the sight safety intact, checked walnut grips, forward plunge milled slide serrations and is identified by the "U.S." mark stamped on the upper left flat of the trigger guard and "R.A.C." for Rinaldo A. Carr (a civilian ordnance employee) on the upper right flat of the trigger guard. 

The two distinct features that differentiate the Second Army contract from the First are the the course checkered walnut grips and the forward slide serrations.  These slight changes were quickly implemented by Colt's in response to some of the criticisms of the First Army contract pistol.  The grips were made larger and checkered to minimize the gun twisting in the hand and also to reduce the likelihood of the gun being dropped.  The slide serrations were moved forward so the hand would not interfere with the sight safety.

This serial number range for this contract included guns in the serial number range from 1501 to 1700 and they were shipped from December 28, 1900 to February 4, 1901.


Date Shipped Serial Number Quantity
December 28, 1900 1501 - 1550


January 11, 1901 1551 - 1600


January 24, 1901 1601 - 1650


February 4, 1901 1651 - 1700


The purchase of 200 of these pistols from Colt was authorized by the Board of Ordnance Officer's Report in 1900.  They were to be used for further test this model.

Colt Model 1900 Right Side - "AUTOMATIC COLT" over "CALIBRE 38 RIMLESS SMOKELESS".  Slide features forward plunge milled serrations.

Right side of slide is marked "AUTOMATIC COLT" over "CALIBRE 38 RIMLESS SMOKELESS"

Colt Model 1900 left side slide markings - "BROWNING'S PATENT" over "PAT'D APRIL 29, 1897" and COLT'S PATENT FIRE ARMS MFG CO." over "HARTFORD CONN U.S.A."  Serial number 1690 is on the left side of the frame above the trigger.

Close-up of sight safety and hammer.  Also notice the rough checking and unique design of the checkered walnut grips that were provided with the Second Army Contract variations.  Sight Safety - locked in upward position, this functions as the rear sight.  Locked in down position, this functions as a hammer block safety.  The sight safety and hammer were color case hardened.

Hammer back and sight safety in "sight" position.

Left grip profile - early Model 1900 pistols were fitted with course checked walnut grips with a distinctive unchecked "V" pattern around each grip screw.  Grip screws, hammer screw, pins, trigger, slide lock, magazine release and forward frame plug had a turquoise blued finish. 

Original Rock Island Arsenal marked "U.S." holster used for both the First and Second Army Contract Colt Model 1900 pistols.

Rear of Colt 1900 Holster is stamped "ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL" over "E.H.S."

Model 1900 Second Army Contract pictured with original holster.

Model 1900 Magazine Base Plate - magazines were full nickel plated and marked "PAT'D SEPT. 9. 1884"

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